Mating moor frogs, video

This 30 June 2015 video from the Hoge Veluwe national park in the Netherlands is by Ruben Smit, maker of the Dutch wildlife film De nieuwe wildernis.

It shows a female moor frog, going to look for a (blueish) male to mate with after her hibernation.

New small frog species discovery on Brazilian mountaintops

This 2007 video from Brazil is about a Brachycephalus pernix frog, a relative of the recently discovered species.

This is another 2007 video about Brachycephalus pernix.

And this 2013 Brazilian video is about Brachycephalus tridactylus, another relative.

And this 2012 Brazilian video is about Brachycephalus nodoterga.

And this December 2014 video, recorded in Brazil, is about Brachycephalus pitanga.

This March 2014 video is about the skeleton of Brachycephalus ephipium.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Seven new species of miniature frogs discovered in cloud forests of Brazil

Tiny frogs smaller in size than bumblebees have evolved with fewer fingers and toes to reduce their size to adapt to life on isolated mountaintops

Karl Mathiesen

Thursday 4 June 2015 17.08 BST

Seven new species of miniature frog, smaller than bumblebees, have been discovered clinging to survival on isolated mountaintops in Brazil.

The largest of the new discoveries has a maximum adult length of just 13mm. The frogs, which are among the smallest land vertebrates, have evolved with fewer fingers and toes in order to reduce their size.

Miniaturisation allows the frogs to emerge from their eggs as fully-formed, albeit tiny, adults. This means they do not go through a tadpole stage and can survive far from standing water. Highly efficient absorption allows them to stay hydrated by soaking water from damp ground through the skin on their bellies.

Marcio Pie, a professor at the Universidade Federal do Paraná, led a team of researchers on a five-year exploration of the mountainous cloud forests on the southern Atlantic coast of Brazil. They published their study in the journal PeerJ on Thursday.

“Although getting to many of the field sites is exhausting, there was always the feeling of anticipation and curiosity about what new species could look like”, said Pie.

The frogs are all species from the Brachycephalus genus, which are often tiny in size.

They live on ‘sky islands’, areas of high forest on mountains surrounded by lower altitude rainforest. The tiny frogs are highly adapted to their conditions and sometimes restricted to a single mountain. There they have evolved in isolation over millennia – much like the unique species on separate Galapagos islands that so fascinated Charles Darwin.

Pie said this extreme endemism makes them exceptionally vulnerable to changes in their habitat. Their major threats are illegal logging and changes to cloud forests caused by climate change. None of the newly-described species are in reserves and many live relatively close to cities where the forest can be more easily impacted.

“The really big concern is climate change because the cloud forest depends on the delicate balance between the water that comes form the ocean and the topography. If there’s some sort of warming it’s possible that that sort of really humid forest will disappear and with that all the endemic species, not only our frogs but other types of organisms,” he said.

The study increases the number of recognised species in the genus by 50% to a total of 21.

Luiz Ribeiro, a research associate to the Mater Natura Institute for Environmental Studies, said the new discoveries suggested there were many more to find. “This is only the beginning, especially given the fact that we have already found additional species that we are in the process of formally describing.”

The find comes against a background of catastrophic amphibian decline worldwide caused by a chytrid fungus. At least 200 species of frog have been driven to extinction or declined because of the disease the fungus causes. Pie said the frogs may be protected from chytrid by their ability to survive away from the water sources where the fungus is often found.

Snail passes tree frog, video

Ab Wisselink from the Netherlands, the maker of this video, writes about it (translated):

On May 13 [2015], I photographed a tree frog sitting sunbathing on a blackberry bush in a new nature reserve of the State Forestry in Halle-Heide (Achterhoek region).

From the right underside a snail entered the picture, crawling, and passed the tree frog, neatly according to the traffic rules on the left side. The frog moved aside a bit, but otherwise let it happen quietly, and the snail seemed to have no trouble finding its way with between the sharp blackberry thorns. Wonderful to experience!

Little ringed plover and young frog

This video is about black woodpeckers making their nest.

We had seen a black woodpecker; on 2 May, in a coniferous forest near the Holtveenslenk lake. I personally saw just a silhouette of the bird flying away.

After 4 May 2015, came 5 May in and around Dwingelderveld national park in Drenthe province.

We went to the southern Kloosterveld part. Still barn swallows flying around. However, now after the rain, there are many more puddles than on 3 May. So, the swallows now are able to drink and to collect nesting material at many more places than before; making photographing them harder than before.

Moss, 5 May 2015

The moss is not harder to photograph here now than earlier.

A yellowhammer on the grass.

Willow warbler and chiffchaff singing.

So does a skylark. And a song thrush.

A curlew calls.

A shelduck rests on the lakelet bank.

Behind it, Egyptian geese.

Two grey lag geese flying overhead.

On the northern bank of the next lake, a common sandpiper.

Little ringed plover, 5 May 2015

And a little ringed plover.

Two shelducks swimming between black-headed gulls.

Sound of a pheasant. And of an edible frog.

Stonechat male, 5 May 2015

On a pole, a male stonechat. It flies to a wire; then, to another pole.

Young pool frog, 5 May 2015

Then, a juvenile pool frog.

We arrive back at Lanka park. A red squirrel at the feeder.

Blackbird female, 5 May 2015

Then, a female blackbird; cleaning her feathers after lots of rain.

Common frogs’ mating season again

This video is about common frogs‘ mating season in the Netherlands.

Daniël van de Velde made the video.

‘Kermit-like’ frog discovery in Costa Rica

This video from the USA says about itself:

Newfound species of frog has eyes like Kermit

20 April 2015

The frog, found in Costa Rica, has translucent skin and eyes that many people say resemble those of the world’s most famous frog.


Real-Life Kermit the Frog Found in Costa Rica


Wildlife researcher Brian Kubicki has identified a new species of glass frog that bears a striking resemblance to everyone’s favorite childhood frog. Discovered in Costa Rica, Hyalinobatrachium dianae is easily identifiable by its lime green flesh, translucent underside and large, Kermit-like eyes.

H. dianae was discovered in the Talamanca mountains; it is the first new species of glass frog to be discovered in Costa Rica in over 40 years. Kubicki posits that the frog remained hidden from researchers for so long thanks to its mating call, which more closely resembles that of insects than frogs.

No word yet if there is a Miss Piggy look-alike pig also residing in the same jungle.

Click here for more information from The Tico Times.

Miss Piggy-like pigs are not in jungles in Costa Rica, as far as I know. Collared peccaries, related to pigs, do live there.

The scientific description of the new frog species is here.

See also here.

Saving Panama amphibians

This video says about itself:

Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project’s New Rescue Lab

8 April 2015

Dr. Brian Gratwicke, international coordinator for the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project and SCBI amphibian research scientist.

April 8, 2015—Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) scientists working together as part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project (PARC) opened a new safe haven for endangered amphibians today, April 8. The state-of-the-art, $1.2 million amphibian center at STRI’s Gamboa field station is the largest amphibian conservation facility of its kind in the world. The new center expands on the capacity of the El Valle amphibian conservation center to implement a national strategy to conserve Panama’s amphibian biodiversity by creating captive assurance populations.

Panama is a biodiversity hotspot for amphibians with more than 200 species of frogs, salamanders and caecilians.

For the past 20 years, however, many of Panama’s unique and endemic amphibian species have declined or disappeared as a result of the deadly chytrid fungus that has spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In fact, a third of amphibian species in Panama are considered threatened or endangered. Amphibian conservationists around the world have been working to establish captive populations of the world’s most vulnerable amphibian species to safeguard them from extinction. Since 1980, 122 amphibian species are thought to have gone extinct worldwide, compared to just five bird species and no mammals during the same period.

“Our biggest challenge in the race to save tropical amphibians has been the lack of capacity,” said Brian Gratwicke, amphibian scientist at SCBI and international coordinator of PARC. “This facility will allow us to do so much more. We now have the space needed to safeguard some of Panama’s most vulnerable and beautiful amphibians and to conduct the research needed to reintroduce them back to the wild.”

The center features a working lab for scientists, a quarantine space for frogs collected from the wild and amphibian rescue pods capable of holding up to 10 species of frogs. In the working lab, SCBI scientists will continue research focusing on things like a cure for chytrid. They published findings last month in Proceedings of the Royal Society showing that certain Panamanian golden frogs were able to survive infection with chytrid as a result of a unique skin-microbe community already living on their skin. Seven amphibian rescue pods house the amphibian collection and colonies of insects needed to feed them. Amphibian rescue pods are constructed from recycled shipping containers that were once used to move frozen goods around the world and through the Panama Canal; they have been retrofitted to become mini-ecosystems with customized terrariums for each frog species.

“Our project is helping implement the action plan for amphibian conservation in Panama, authored by Panama’s National Environmental Authority—now Environment Ministry—in 2011,” said Roberto Ibañez, STRI project director for PARC. “This is only possible thanks to the interest in conservation of amphibian biodiversity by the government of Panama and the support we have received from businesses in Panama.”

The new rescue lab will be crucial to ongoing breeding efforts and breakthroughs, such as the successful hatching of an Andinobates geminisae froglet. SCBI and STRI scientists hatched the first A. geminisae froglet in human care in one of the amphibian rescue pods at the existing Gamboa amphibian conservation center. The tiny poison frog species, smaller than a dime, was discovered and described for the first time in Panama in 2014. They simulated breeding conditions in a rescue pod. The new facility will provide much-needed space to grow and expand, allowing them to build assurance populations for many more species. A small exhibition niche provides a window directly into an active rescue pod, where visitors can see rescued frogs and scientists as they work to conserve these endangered frogs.

PARC is a partnership between the Houston Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Zoo New England, SCBI and STRI. Funding for the new facilities was provided by Defenders of Wildlife, Frank and Susan Mars, Minera Panama, the National Science Foundation and USAID.

As a research facility, PARC is not open to the public. However, there are interpretive panels and a window into the research pod where visitors can get a glimpse of the project in action. To learn more, the public is welcome to visit the new Fabulous Frogs of Panama exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Punta Culebra Nature Center, located on the Amador Causeway.